THE WORLD, it’s mother and even it’s grand mother have an opinion on ‘the biggest fight of this generation’ set to the take place this Saturday night.
Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquioa is a clash that not just transcends the sport of boxing but sport itself. Over the last few weeks everyone from common opponents, boxing greats and respected fight scribes to football pundits, agony aunts and your local shopkeeper have been heard calling the fight.
Before we put our money on the line we like to get some insider knowledge, so we disregarded the opinion of the casual and picked the brains of two Irish fighters who know Manny Pacquioa and his coach Freddie Roach well.
Dubliners Dean Byrne and Jamie Kavanagh were once of the Wild Card Gym and shared time and the sparring ring with the ‘Pac Man’. Both are Pacquioa fans and you get the impression he has there respect as person as much as a fighter.
Golden Boy lightweight Kavanagh doesn’t let his heart rule his head when calling the bout, however and believes people that back ‘Money’ will be cashing winners dockets come Sunday morning.
Byrne on the other hand believes the Philippine puncher is going to win on points.
“I think Mayweather will win the fight. His defence is too good. I think he will walk Manny onto a shot similar to the way Marquez did. Manny’s attacking style is exciting, but its also predictable. You will never see Manny fighting on the back foot and he will come forward on Saturday. Floyd is also the bigger man and this could be a factor in the latter rounds. I think it is Mayweather by decision and possibly by knock out in the later rounds. My heart is with Manny but my head says Mayweather,” Kavanagh told Irish-boxing.com.
“Personally I can see Manny winning on points,” Byrne said when talking to the site. “It is Vegas and it is big business so if it is close you could see a draw, but I backing Manny to win on points,” he added before qualifying his prediction by admitting he is biased. “I am team Pac Man all the way.”
Predictions are a plenty and calling the fight is not the most interesting thing two people who know one team in what will be the most lucrative boxing bout of all time so well.
Both revealed the fight was always a topic of discussion in the Wild Card when they frequented it a number of years ago. Byrne, who returns to the ring after a year out on May 16, went as far as to say Freddie Roach had a Mayweather game plan devised and ready to put into action five years ago.
“Freddie always wanted the fight, Manny too and now they have it thank God,” Byrne continued
“Freddie has a game plan from five years ago and I can’t wait to see it in action.”
“It has been the most talked about fight for five years in the Wildcard,” Kavanagh revealed.
“This fight was on everyone’s mind, but so was how long it was taking to set it up. A lot of people lost interest over the years and started talking about other fights like the Marquez trilogy and so on. Manny did his own thing and got on with business winning World titles in different weight classes, but this is the fight not only the boxing world wants to see but the sporting event the whole world wants to see.”
Blame has delivered to door of both fighters over the last five years with the same regularity bills are to the ordinary punter. Mayweather produced most of the excuses, but talks are said to have broke down at both ends on numerous occasions. Granted that might have a lot to do with the fact the Pac Man is promoted by Mayweather’s arch nemesis Bob Arum.
Despite some of the unbeaten Mayweahter’s claims to the contrary both Kavanagh and Byrne claim they never seen anything to suggest Pacquioa didn’t want the clash.
Indeed Kavanagh suggests a disagreement over where 10 percent of the purse would head might have been the stumbling block.
“I think egos got in the way(of the fight being made). Both fighters were in good positions and no one wanted to take the 40 percent. I think after Manny suffered defeat to Marquez he came back and did the right thing and took 10 percent less. He was happy to be the B side of the mega fight!
“So if you ask me the 10 percent was the issue and it boiled down to the A and B side.”
There has been some talk that the eight weight World champ might opt to go forego his attacking style against the worlds greatest counter puncher, but Kavanagh dismisses such notions.
“Manny is an front foot fight and Freddie is an offensive trainer. His defence is in his offence and attacking from angles.”